Roy Tang

Programmer, engineer, scientist, critic, gamer, dreamer, and kid-at-heart.

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Superhero shows being political

Comic books and superheroes have always tended to skew towards liberal philosophies, given how writers and artists tend to support ideals like individualism and free expression. So it’s not surprising that the derivative shows tend to lean the same way. Not only do many of the shows promote diversity, but many are becoming overtly political as well. Some recent examples. (Spoilers for current seasons of Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow and Daredevil follow)

  • The current season 4 of Supergirl seems to be focusing on anti-alien sentiment, a thinly-veiled allegory towards the anti-immigration movement propagated in far right “nationalist” circles. Similar to real-life, hatemongers are portrayed riling up crowds frustrated with losing jobs and threats to law and order due to the presence of “aliens”.
  • The pilot episode of Legends of Tomorrow’s season 4 includes a short segment where one of the characters visits her mother, a Muslim immigrant in the US, and wishes she could warn her to move to Canada before “this country turns against her.” Do the Legends know about things to come? (Of course, during the previous season, the showrunners admitted that the Muslim character in question was introduced precisely as a response to Trump’s election.)
  • And finally, in the fantastic Daredevil season 3, Wilson’s Fisk’s being billeted in the “Presidential Hotel” and his calling out his supposed crimes as politically-motivated “fake news” reminds a lot of people of the current American president. If that wasn’t enough, even the showrunner compares the Kingpin to Trump.

Though it’s not a completely new thing I’m glad the showrunners are willing to make their political opinions known. This, despite the existence the so-called ComicsGate movement among a minority of superhero fans, which is a self-described revolt against “liberalism”. I wonder if these ComicsGate people also hate the TV shows?

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